Review: Nicole Williams’ Trusting You and Other Lies

Title: Trusting You and Other Lies
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Pages: 
304
Publisher:
Crown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 

Disclaimer, I was given a copy of this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I was a little iffy of this book at first, the whole idea of a family—including the parents—going to camp for an extended time (anything beyond a weekend or week really) didn’t really click with me. I don’t know, I was just like ‘don’t they have responsibilities, and why would they even want to go?’ That and the description gave it a sort of family counseling camp vibe and I was worried it would get a little too preachy or something.

But I had no reason to fear. Trusting You and Other Lies really hits the sweet spot of contemporary—it’s realistic and emotional while also having that cute camp experience and dream romance that makes it the perfect summer read.

Phoenix’s family situation is really screwed up and has really screwed her up. Two years ago, her father lost his job—her mom never worked—and he has yet to find one since. And in that time her parents have become totally absent, only being present when they’re fighting. This has made Phoenix into really the only reliable force and role model in her younger brother’s life. Continue reading

Review: Maurene Goo’s I Believe In a Thing Called Love

Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maureen Goo
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 
336
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rating: 

Y’all this is going to be a pretty brief review, but I just wanted to share with you this super sweet, kitchy, summer read.

Desi Lee is cute and totally me from high school. She does student government, plays soccer, all these other extra curriculars, and basically runs the school but isn’t necessarily the popular girl . The one thing she doesn’t excel at is talking to boys, she always ends up having all these accidents—like having her pants fall down.

So when she meets the handsome new artistic boy in school, she creates a plan to keep her from embarrassing herself—with steps taken from her father’s favorite K-dramas.

I don’t know a lot about Korean culture—or K-dramas for that matter—so it was really great to get a peek of it in this novel. I just loved picking up some diverse young adult this month.

 

Continue reading

Review: C.J. Redwine’s The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen
Series: Ravenspire
Author: C.J. Redwine
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 16th, 2016
Pages: 
387
Publisher:
Balzer + Bray
Rating: 

As some of you might know from my reading history as well as a previous post I did—’Retellings I Want to Read’—I love retellings, so I was really excited about picking up The Shadow Queen. It’s actually been on my radar since it came out, I just never really thought to order it till I saw it on sale.

Snow White isn’t my favorite princess/movie even though the storyline is interesting. I just feel like the OG Disney-version of the character lacks. She is so meek and doesn’t really do much—and her voice gets on my nerves. So I was really hopeful that with this book I could get a version of the character that I actually liked.

The storyline differs a bit in some key parts, but I actually liked it. There isn’t too much to the original tale, and the changes made it a lot more interesting and offered some background and depth.

First, Lorelai—AKA Snow White—has a brother in this tale. The whole relationship between the two is really sweet, they fled together when their step-mother killed their father and took control of the kingdom. But really, they’re best friends and she’s super protective of him and I love good sibling relationships. He’s also funny and charming which plays off her a bit tougher exterior well. Continue reading

Review: Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi 
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 
380
Publisher:
 Simon Pulse
Rating: 

This book has been everywhere and on every list lately. It was one of my most anticipated of the year actually. Dimple is ready to start college, but first she really wants to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers. Her parents on the other hand, are more focused on finding her the “Ideal Indian Husband.”

Rishi is a hopeless romantic who has wholeheartedly agreed with is parents to an arranged marriage. And when he finds out his future wife—Dimple—is going to be attending a summer program a short while away, he thinks why not? Problem is, Dimple has no clue who he is, and their introduction is anything both smooth—cue iced coffee throwing.

I adored this story. It was full of smiles, laughs, and truly precious moments. It is also a uniquely diverse young adult read, with Indian characters in my opinion being all too often absent from the story.  Continue reading

Review: Cindy Anstey’s Love, Lies and Spies

Title: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Pages: 
368
Publisher:
 Swoon Reads
Rating: 

I honestly didn’t expect too much from this book, it just sounded like a light read and honestly I just needed a break from series. The premise is, our main character Juliana isn’t your typical 19th century lady, instead she’s more interested in being a natural scientist. Then there is Spencer, not your average gentlemen. He’s actually a spy for the English against the French. Their paths cross and since they enjoy each other’s company, they decide to fake court for the season so they can both focus on their respective interests.

It took me a little while to slip into the story. We start at the right place I believe, but my conceptions were a little different and that left me confused—essentially for some reason I thought Juliana was a spy as well. Totally not true. Adjusting to the like time period, society, and language kind of also got me off to a slow start. Continue reading

Review: Jenny Han’s Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Pages: 
336
Publisher:
 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rating: 

I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free unless you have not read the first two books—To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You—which I totally suggest you do and which you can read my reviews for here and here.

Originally this series was supposed to just be a duology but then Jenny decided she wasn’t done with Lara Jean’s story. I know a lot of people were back and forth on whether this book was needed or if they wanted it, but personally I was excited. These books just always make me happy and smile so.

Plus while like the end of P.S. I Still Love You could be an end and was supposed to be an end I wanted more. Like it ended with Lara Jean and Peter making up, but I wanted more cuteness from them after that. It was just like they apologized and then cut scene.

And this is all about Lara Jean’s senior year. Which makes it feel totally necessary and important to me. I mean I just finished up my senior year of college, but my senior year of high school isn’t that far behind me. I remember it being a year of excitement, all the fun milestones, but more significantly decisions and change. I was honestly really afraid of the change aspect as much as I was excited for it. I did not want my characters to face any hardships or be torn apart. Continue reading

Review: Victoria Aveyard’s King’s Cage

Title: King’s Cage
Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Pages: 
528
Publisher:
 HarperTeen
Rating: 

Glass Sword is the third book in the  Red Queen quartet by Victoria Aveyard. Fair warning that this will have spoilers if you haven’t read Red Queen and Glass Sword—which you can read my reviews for here and here.

I was on the edge of my seat with the ending of Glass Sword—with Mare giving her self up to save her friends. King’s Cage is the aftermath of that sacrifice. Mare is Maven’s captive; and despite her position, she can see him trying to prove himself to her and save her. On the other side, The Scarlet Gaurd is still looking to conquer while Cal is focused on saving Mare.

I was a bit frustrated with Mare here, I mean I think a lot of us have been for the past two books but still. She is prisoner and isn’t really trying to do anything about it. There are a few instances of her acting out but they don’t really seem to accomplish anything. It’s like she’s given into the idea of being Maven’s pet. Like even if she couldn’t escape, I wanted to maybe see her trying to tear down the court from the inside. 

Something that’s interesting is we get some other points of view in King’s Cage. Cameron, who is the new blood we met in the last book with the power to nullify powers and kill, is our eyes and ears for what’s happening with the Scarlet Guard. Her perspective is really unique and different from Mare because she really wants no part in the revolution. That said, I wasn’t really invested in her. She came in so late in Glass Sword and had an attitude, I don’t totally care about her. 

It might be typical, but I wish we got to see inside Cal’s head instead. I wanted more from him, he is very surface in this book compared to the boy I met in Red Queen. He is on a mission to get Mare back, with each of them sort of admiting their feelings once they’re separated. I have been shipping them this whole time and it fell a bit flat for me here. I think more time of them really together and interacting and sharing their feelings would’ve reminded us all how great there connection is. 

Later in the story we get Evangeline’s perspective as well. She is still catty and in line to be queen, as Maven’s betrothed. There’s obviously no love there. We get some insight into her personal life and motivations that are interesting and that might lead to some changes in the next book.  

I don’t know, I enjoyed the book but it definitely was more talk and waiting and less action than the others. It really does feel kind of like a filler. 

Like with all the books in the series though, the end of King’s Cage left me reeling. I have no clue where this could go next. 

Find King’s Cage on Amazon and the author at victoriaaveyard.com.

Let me know what you think of King’s Cage in the comments!

 

Review: Beth Revis’ Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe
Series: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: 
Young Adult Fiction, Sci-fi, Dystopian
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
Pages: 
399
Publisher:
 Razorbill
Rating: 

Stuff is happening on Earth that is maybe not the greatest. But we have found another planet that looks like it can support life. The thing is, it’ll take a crew three-hundred years to get there via spaceship. Amy’s parents are essential military and science personal and have been selected for the mission. They will be frozen and then reanimated when they have reached the planet—with a crew powering the ship. Although given the option to stay on Earth, Amy gives it all up to follow her parents.

Problem is, somebody un-freezes her too soon—in an attempt to murder her. Now she must figure out the secrets of the ship—and the unfamiliar people who populate it—without her parents. The only person that may be able to help her is Elder, the ship’s future leader.

It has been a while since I completed this book, but I still wanted to write a review to tell you all my thoughts and so I can write reviews for the rest of the series. So bear with me if some things are kind-of vague. Continue reading